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Fishery Management Council, North Pacific

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is one of eight regional councils established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976 to manage fisheries in the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Council primarily manages groundfish in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and Aleutian Islands, targeting cod, pollock, flatfish, mackerel, sablefish, and rockfish species harvested by trawl, longline, jig, and pot gear. The Council also makes allocation decisions for halibut, in concert with the International Pacific Halibut Commission that biologically manages the resource for U.S.-Canada waters. Other large Alaska fisheries for salmon, crab, and scallops are managed jointly with the State of Alaska. Each Council decision is made by recorded vote in a public forum after public comment. Final decisions then go to the Secretary of Commerce for a second review, public comment, and final approval. Decisions must conform with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Regulatory Flexibility Act, and other applicable law including several executive orders. Regulatory changes may take up to a year or longer to implement, particularly if complex or contentious. The Council is composed of 15 members; 11 voting and 4 non-voting. Seven of the voting members are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce upon the recommendation of the governors of Alaska and Washington. The Governor of Alaska nominates candidates for five seats, the Governor of Washington two seats. There are four mandatory voting members; they are the leading fisheries officials from the states of Alaska, Washington and Oregon and the Alaska Regional Director for the National Marine Fisheries Service. The four non-voting members are the Executive Director of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the Area Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Commander of the 17th Coast Guard District, and a representative from the U.S. State Department.